Normally luxury and sharing aren’t words we mention in the same sentence. Those who can afford it pay millions to have their own cars, jets, and yachts – precisely so they don’t have to share with anyone. Yet, in Vilamoura, the largest luxury tourist complex in Europe, sharing has suddenly become fashionable to some of the world’s wealthiest tourists. This Portuguese resort town just launched a new public bike sharing program that will allow residents to see the coast without a car.
Even though Vilamoura is just one of hundreds of cities to launch a public bike sharing program, the service is slightly more glamorous than others we’ve seen. For instance, everything about Vilamoura’s bike sharing program was designed by AND-RÉ, a multidisciplinary studio specializing in architecture, urban planning, design and art.
As a result, the bike sharing program has an air of sophistication about it – from the logo and maps to the bike itself. The slick, light, white, pure, user-friendly custom-made bicycle fits right in among Vilamoura’s stylish citizens, many of whom have adopted the bicycle system as their primary means of transportation, substituting the car for a ride in style. The 3-gear concept aimed to minimize, hide and rethink all the elements, an approach that resulted in an innovative vintage-inspired design
AND-RÉ states: “We see the bike not only as a mere functional utensil, but as an iconographic representation of the territory and landscape. The object is therefore a statement, a symbol and a representation of the city identity. Developing a truly democratic equipment was also a primary objective, requiring a great accuracy in ergonomic study and in the visual/formal language in order to achieve a unisex non-discriminatory product.”
According to AND-RÉ, a total of 100 bicycles are available at 20 bike check-out stations throughout the marina and town. The system is for residents only, who will be issued a user’s card for between €25 and €30 a year. “We want to promote healthy living,” said Paulo Reis from Inframoura, the municipal company that administers the resort, adding that the area has 20 kilometres of cycling routes. See the bike sharing program in action here.